NEW ORLEANS — He’s getting set to play the biggest basketball game of his young life, but Anthony Davis doesn’t mind letting everyone know that there is an off-court side to him as well.
“I am a very laid-back guy off the court. I like to draw in my spare time.I watch a lot of movies. Terrence (Jones) is a big movie guy, so we like to go to movies a lot,” Davis said.
He will draw “whatever pops into my head” and especially likes doing cartoon characters.
“Stuff I have seen on TV. I put up a picture on Google sometimes. People are always asking me to draw their tattoos for them,” he said.
He even drew one for teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but Davis said Kidd-Gilchrist never got the tattoo.
“I just wasted paper. It was a cross with thorns going around it,” Davis said.
Davis said an uncle had gone to drawing school, so when he was “kind of bored and not doing anything” he decided to give drawing a try.
“My uncle showed me a picture he drew, and I said that is cool and I would like to be able to do that one day. So he said I can teach you how to draw. He came to my house one day and just taught me and then we sat down at the house every night to learn,” Davis said.
His mother, Erainer Davis, still remembers moving her son from Chicago to Lexington in the summer and the one thing he forgot to bring with him.
“We were unpacking his things and he said forgot something. I said what. He said, ‘I forgot my drawing, sketch stuff,’” she said. “When we got back home, the next week I had to mail it all to him because that is what he likes to do to unwind in his free times.”
Davis is averaging 14.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He’s hitting 63.9 percent from the field and has 180 blocked shots and 51 steals. All are tops on the team and he has led the nation in blocked shots all season.
Here are some other insights Davis has shared going into tonight’s national championship game against Kansas:
Question: What is it like to not go anywhere without seeing a “Bow to the Brow” T-shirt, license plates?
Davis: “Lexington fans are crazy. Well, Kentucky fans are crazy. Wherever you go, they are there. They really show us a lot of support. Especially here in Atlanta, they really came. In Louisville, they came. It just shows you how supportive they are. In big games, when we really need them, they are always there cheering us on. They never get mad at you or anything. You can lose a game and they tell you they still love you and say great game. They don’t turn on you.”
Question: What is the strangest thing seen with you likeness on it?
Davis: “So many. I can’t remember.”
Question: Does the “brow stuff” bother you as a person?
Davis: Does not bother me all. It is kind of embracing. Way of showing support. There are a lot of signs, posters, T shirts, I love it all.
Question: Never found it insulting?
Davis: “Not at all.”
Question: Best advice you have gotten in technique or shot blocking form coach or other player or guys in pros? Anything in particular you have tried to embrace?
Davis: “Before I tried to block a shot when guy driving still has ball in hand. When I¿got to¿Kentucky, coach Cal told me to block it when leaves his hand and is at the rim. That makes it a lot easier and you will not pick up fouls that way. So when a guys releases the ball, that is when I try to block it.
Question: As you have become so well know with the poster and billboard in New Orleans and all the awards, have you ever gotten uncomfortable with all that attention? Why do you think your teammates have handled it well and not had jealousy?
Davis: “I try to block it out. “Coaches tell me not to worry about all that stuff. Just go out there and play the game. You can get caught up in all the hype, and that is when you start to lose focus. I just try to tune it out. My teammates do a great job supporting each other and everyone else. That is what kind of makes us unique. No one is jealous over another person even if on the court or off the court.”
Question: How rare is that with a team of so many star caliber players?
Davis: “I think it is very rare. On a lot of teams there is usually jealousy of someone who is doing well or getting all the attention from the media or whatever the case may be but my team supports me and if you have a good game or are doing well, they just congratulate you. In the game, they just keep feeding you the ball and they want you to score.”
Question: Is it a good way to distance yourself a little bit from the rigors of the basketball season to get away?
Davis: “Most definitely. When you are drawing, you don’t really think about anything else but what you are doing. So it gets your mind off everything. Calming mindset and just relax.”
Question: Have you thought about over the course of this season that if your team can finish this off, what your place in history will be?
Davis: “If win it all, it would be very great. Probably make the history books with four freshman out of seven (top) guys. It would be incredible. Not sure if has been done or not but to play four freshman and win national championship, that says a lot right there.”
Question: How much do you guys want to help Calipari prove that the one-and-done concept can work and win a national title?
Davis: “We are very aware, and he says a lot about it in a lot of his interviews when the topic gets brought up. But we just want to go out there and have fun. Want to show that freshman can actually win it. It’s not about experience. It is about who goes out there and wants it more.”
Question: Did you think you would have this level of impact? What were your expectations before this season? Have you surprised yourself?
Davis: Yes I am surprised. I thought I would hit a couple of shots, block a couple of shots, get a couple of dunks but never thought I would be this successful in college. I thought I would probably be all right in college and do whatever had to do to help my team win but as far as the awards and success rolling in, I had no plans on being this successful in college. I am grateful for it and I think about it all the time. I am just thankful for it.”
Question: Why do you think it has gone so well?
Davis: Opportunities. My teammates have done a great job giving me the ball. Thanks to all the teams who drive inside to give me a chance to block the shots. We have got a lot of guys on this team that can score. When they try to stop one or two guys that leaves another three or four guys open and we take full advantage of the opportunities.”
Question: Is anything less than a championship going to be acceptable?
Davis: “Our goal is to win a national championship. We will be kind a mad if we don’t win it but at the same time if we went out there and left it all on the court, we would not be disappointed in ourselves.”
Question: Any chatter on the team about what guys might come back to Kentucky next year?
Davis: Have to wait to the end of the season and guys sit down with family and coaches. Right now we are all focused on winning the national championship.”
Question: Are you having fun?
Davis: Definitely having fun. See us on the court smiling. If one guy is down, we try to make a joke or something. Get them to laugh, that is a key part of playing the game, you’ve got to have fun. If you are not having fun, there is no point in playing the game.You have got to love what you are doing.
Question: When did you get comfortable with your height, length after growing six inches in one year in high school?
Davis: “In the summer. I came early and started working out on post offense, blocking out. I got comfortable and at the start of the season they threw to me in the post to see how I was progressing. I did not do so good at first but kept working and became better. Now I want the ball in the post.”
Question: When growing like that are you going through clothes every six months? What do your parents think? Can they afford you?
Davis: “They always tell me ‘you don’t need new clothes. I just bought you some.’ I say Mom, ‘I can’t fit in them.’ I even had to get a new bed. My feet were hanging out the bed. I really owe them a lot of money.”